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Darlington sign ex-Bolton, Birmingham, Derby, Preston player

National League North club Darlington sign two players Tuesday afternoon with one of them being ex-Bolton, Birmingham, Derby, Preston player.

The second of the two signings is an academy product of Premier League side Newcastle United, who he departed just last month.

The Quakers finished the 2019-20 season in 10th place, based on points-per-game (PPG), falling just short of the playoffs.

Back to the those new signings now and the newest incomer is the experienced former top flight player Nicky Hunt, now aged 36.

He started his career at Bolton Wanderers, way back in 2001, going on to play 458 games in total, scoring four times. He has also made 10 appearances for England under 21s.

He his debut for the Trotters when they were in what was then known as Premiership, and established himself as a regular under manager Sam Allardyce making 161 appearances, including the 2004 Carling Cup final defeat against Middlesbrough. Bolton finished in the top highes of eight in four successive seasons.

After loan spells at Birmingham and Derby, he signed for Bristol City in 2010, and then on to Preston, Rotherham, Accrington Stanley, Mansfield, Leyton Orient, Notts County and Crewe, who won promotion from League Two last season.

He was released by the latter earlier in the summer, and after talking to manager Alun Armstrong, he’s now decided that it is the right time to go part time.

Darlington manager Alun Armstrong said; “Nicky’s vast experience in the game is going to be invaluable for us. He has played at a much higher level since 2001, and only last season was a regular in the Crewe Alexandra team that won promotion from League Two. He can play at full back or in the centre of defence.

“He is a very good organiser on the pitch, and will bring out the best in the players around him.”

Nicky said; “Alun was one of the first managers I spoke to after I was released at the end of the season, and he made feel wanted. I’m really looking forward to getting back into football having not played since March, and it will be great to catch up with Will and Michael, and the rest of the lads. Hopefully I can help get Darlington promoted.”

The club added: “We would like to welcome Nicky to the club, and wish him every success during his stay with us.

“The signing is subject to FA and League clearance.”

Darlo’s first signing of the day had been 22 year old forward Luke Charman, following his release by Newcastle last month.

He has been a regular scorer for Newcastle’s under 23 side in the last few years, finding the net a total of 30 times in 81 games for them during that period, but couldn’t get into the first team.

He also had a brief spell with Accrington Stanley in 2018, and played three times for Newcastle under 21s in the EFL Trophy last season.

Darlington manager Alun Armstrong has been tracking Luke for a year, and said; “Luke has shown plenty of promise at Newcastle, but his chances of progressing there were very limited.

“He will give us extra options up front, and I believe that we will realise his potential, making him an excellent striker in this league.

“He was someone I tried to get on loan twice last season but Newcastle wouldn’t let him out. He did have other clubs higher up talking to him but I managed to convince him to join us — he is good friends with Jamie Holmes which I’m sure helped with his decision.

“He’s different to what we’ve got, being 6’1” and athletic. Now it’s up to us to help him get him back on track as he’s still young.”

Fans reacted as Darlington sign the Newcastle youngster as well as the ex-Bolton, Birmingham, Derby, Preston player Nicky Hunt…



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